Let’s Talk Research:

We back, again –

My first impression of the research process is that it’s not cute – at all (lol). To research is to be curious. To be curious is to accept failure, or the very idea that your attempted, self-centered, intrinsic-driven, problem-question could be misguided, which of course, inevitably leads to revising your initial research question, and reframing your hypothesis just to hope the variables won’t be wrongfully manipulated, yet again. There is a lot to lose yet so much more to gain throughout the research process.

I said the research process – of being socially, culturally, and self-aware enough to externalize a self-centered research question, and to be nonetheless motivated enough to test your inquiry through the appropriate research method – is not cute because the process of conducting research is so important, hefty, and time-consuming that it becomes extremely intimidating. In fact, I think being aware of the many different types and forms of research and data collection is a useful skill to have to understand academic literature, and to properly prepare for the diverse world of writing and creation. Configuring a research question and choosing a method of implementation is apparently only the beginning ~~

As a perfectionist, I like to get things right the first time around. Perfectionism is a trait of mine – in which I’m not the proudest of – that I’ve been continuously working to dismantle and unravel with my therapist. And to conduct research, is to openly accept failure as a point of reference for redirection, which sounds hopeful yet daunting at the same time. Perhaps, this class will provide me with the patience and perseverance needed to organize, research, create, implement, and analyze. Hopefully, through closely reading and studying the various methods of research and academic writing, I’ll gain insight on how the author’s went about their research process, and how they managed to cope with constant changing variables. Something about sudden unpredictability scares the living hell out of me.

Considering the many different research methods discussed in Martin Gunnell’s LinkedIn article post, I have found the mixed methods to be most intriguing because if it’s extensive approach toward data collection. I find value in all three of the research methodologies, and their respective ways of thinking and application. Each research method invites unique layers of, or perspectives on humanity and our very function in existence. Quantitative methodsor quantity; how much of – is numeric and objective, with its origins based deeply in the scientific method. Particularly, the quantitative approach uses statistical processes to refine and display emerging patterns from data through survey preparation and testing, validation of the variables, sample identification, and of course, a multitude of other procedures (Gunnell, 2016). What I like most about the quantitative method approach is the straightforwardness of defined steps outlined within the scientific method. Of course, the researcher may have to re-visit past steps, or re-adjust their hypothesis to make more sense of the changing variables or collected data. Ugh, though, because what a fright it would be to wake up one morning, just to find out you have been testing the wrong question or hypothesis the entire time.

No need to worry, because the qualitative method approach “derives the research process from the collected data (Gunnell, 2016).” Thus, making the qualitative research process itself free of rigid rules and procedures. Although I’m a fan of step-by-step directions, I find comfort in the freedom of exploration and discovery experienced throughout the qualitative research method process. The qualitative methods, with its origins in using unstructured processes of data collection to understand human motive, interaction, and behavior, seems to better suit and support my interest as a fictional, creative writer. The interpersonal ambiguity of qualitative research allows for multiple interpretations to exist, and in return, the collected data could help me fabricate future fictional characters around a personally motivated, and well-researched question that could potentially be the overall theme of the short story.

As for the CARS model, designed and directed toward revising introductions, is an organized, proofreading writing guide to assure that all essential parts of a scholarly introduction are appropriately met and addressed. The CARS model seems to uncomplicate the daunting task of starting a hefty research paper. I also find the self-reflective introduction questions for revision useful and would definitely take advantage of asking myself such crucial questions to refine my research proposal.

The process of forming a research question and choosing the best method for data collection is where all the magic of discovery begins. Forming and finalizing an appropriate research question is a separate process that ultimately precedes the research process. Doubt and self-awareness must come before research implementation and deep analysis. I suppose academic researchers love the thrill of chasing knowledge, or the notion of being an active problem-solver or solution-seeker. I certainly applaud their diligence in the matter.

XOXO,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

Dominican Flavors

View of a balcony with a Dominican flag hanging from the balcony.

In the heart of the Caribbean where the sun meets the sea, 

Dominican kitchens hum with culinary glee. 

A symphony of flavors, a dance of delight, 

In every dish, stories of tradition take flight.

Plantains, the golden muse, ripe and sweet, 

Transform in the kitchen, a delightful feat. 

Mangu’s warm embrace, a morning’s delight, 

Plantains milk and butter, in a mash so right.

Sofrito sizzles, a fragrant overture, 

Abuelita’s culinary signature. 

Aromas intertwine in the air, 

A dance of spices, a legacy to declare.

Moro de guandules, brown rice and peas unite, 

A savory dance, a family’s delight. 

Meats join the chorus, a symphony so grand, 

On the plate, a taste of the island’s land.

In the heart of each dish, a surprise awaits, 

A hint of adventure, beyond the culinary gates. 

For in Dominican kitchens, where tradition thrives, 

Innovations spark, like stars in the night skies.

Sancocho simmers, a stew mixed of vegetable, roots and love, 

Yucca, plantains, and meats from above. 

A fusion of flavors, in a communal pot, 

Sancocho warms, memories never to be forgot.

And as the pots bubble and the pans clatter, 

Laughter echoes, like music in the chatter. 

For in the rhythm of cooking, joy is heard,

A symphony of sound, in every spoken word.

From the gentle sizzle of sofrito in the pan, 

To the rhythmic chop of vegetables by hand. 

Each sound tells a tale, a story to tell, 

Of love, family, and the meals we dwell.

Who Am I? & What is My Research Identity?

PART 1:

Well, hello my fellow classmates ~~ I am using my introduction blog from my last class with Dr. Zamora (ENG 5020) because it does the job well. Of course, I added some stuff on research and changed some things around 

Francesca Di Fabio, here – I come from a hard-working, Italian American household, raised by both of my lovely grandmothers, mother, father, and older brother. I was blessed enough to have one grandma – my Nonna – live down the street, and my other grandma – who we called Morning – live in the bottom half of our mother-daughter house. Both of my Italian grandmas have passed but our lovely memories of drawing, painting, gardening, cooking home-made pasta and sauce together will live on forever.

I sleep in the very room my mother did too, when she was a young girl, following the motions toward womanhood. Now a grown woman myself, I take pleasure in waking up late on Sunday’s to the smell of Morning’s marinara sauce recipe boiling on the stove top – cooked by my mother and passed down from her own. Ready and served no later than 3 PM every Sunday. I learned quickly how to make room for two dinner servings on Sundays, because if not, my mother will take it as an insult to her cooking. It’s very simple: If we don’t eat, my mother is not pleased. My mother – a Jersey City Italian who’s a mix between Judge Judy and The Long Island Medium. Trust me, you want to please the woman!

But who exactly am I? I wish I could tell you – I’m still figuring that one out. One thing about me is that I’m super passionate about kindness and sharing it with those around us, which is why I teach kids yoga at Lifetime Athletic in Berkeley Heights, NJ. I have been teaching kids yoga for over 2 years now and have an army of kids and families that come weekly. One future goal of mine is to open my own KIDS YOGA STUDIO, only for kiddos aged 13 years and below, with adult yoga transitioning classes for preteens (13 – 15 years old) and Mommy & Me classes during the day.

Some other things I can tell ya is that I obtained my bachelor’s degree in English, Writing, and Education from Kean University, and graduated in the Spring of 2022. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I have a degree in English and am getting my M.A. in Writing Studies. Growing up, I often became embarrassed, frustrated, and overwhelmed that school was hard for me compared to the “average” person. I questioned my dyslexia every day and how it impacted my ability to read. And the worst part of it all was that I loved to learn but I just could not understand the information. 

Instead of hating school, I decided to challenge academia. I became obsessed with teaching myself how to read and write. I would spend hours glossing over pages until I understood what the text was trying to tell me. Endless nights were spent worrying if I looked dumb to my peers or wondering why a simple assignment took me twice as long. Somehow, I graduated undergrad with a flawless 4.0 GPA average, not allowing myself to receive anything less. 

It took time to be proud of myself about graduating college with a 4.0 GPA: apparently, that’s a huge accomplishment. I’ve always had difficulty congratulating or celebrating myself. Because, what if it all doesn’t go as planned? How could I celebrate such an accomplishment when there are endless possibilities for failure in the future? Unfortunately, that’s how an anxiety-induced, perfectionist mind thinks. I know it’s a problem; hence why I spent three months in a partial, hospitalization center – famously known for being referred to as ~ rehab ~. I have no shame talking about my struggles with mental health and the many times I’ve been hospitalized and undergone severe psychosis. . . because it’s my reality. The random panic attacks paired with the spiraling thoughts, throw-up fits, and rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups come with being a perfectionist. There is a cost for always wanting to be perfect.

So, I write to understand my thoughts because it turns out I got a whole lot of them. I write for my therapist. I write for myself. I write my kids yoga lessons. I write short stories that mirror my very, deep feelings and emotions. I write because I never thought I could. I read to teach myself how to write, so that I can turn around and tell the next person, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

PART 2:

Alright, let’s talk about my research identity – ugh! Imma be real, I like creative nonfiction, creative fiction, writing short stories – honestly, literally anything but research! Research, in my opinion, is so tedious and monotonous. I always undergo several mini-panic attacks while collecting my sources, organizing my sources, skimming through my sources, and AHHHHH! No!! Help!! There is so much research in front of my very eyes!! And then, I swear, everything goes blurry, and I can’t see. Maybe, I’m allergic to research.

Okay, maybe, I’m being dramatic. There is something about research that gets me excited – the loyal search for truth and discovery. Listen, as someone who loves watching alien documentaries with her father and questions everything and believes nothing, I definitely do have a soft spot for research and appreciate the scholars within their academic fields, doing the dirty work that many rather avoid or ignore. I also gained an entirely new perspective on research after reading, “Where Research Begins” by Thomas S. Mullaney and Christopher Rae, specifically the notion of self-centered research and what that does and does not entail.

As a yogi who has been teaching kids yoga for 2 and a half years and practicing for 8 years, the ego is something I internally study and battle with daily. It is important to know when your ego is speaking versus when your internal truthful light is speaking, or your intuition. And the idea behind dismantling your ego and securely knowing who it is you are and the problem(s) you carry inside and why that may be, is literally the essence of yoga practice, and apparently the same with the self-centered research process. I am now pulled to tackle research and sit with my thoughts during the “before” stage – before I know what I’m even researching. The craft of introspection is challenging yet intriguing, and I think it is an essential part of research because who the heck wants to write a hefty research paper on some topic that sparks no internal reaction whatsoever – boring! I think my current research identity is unknown but hopeful.

XOXO,

Francesca D 